Recently one of my male friends and I were talking and I mentioned how I like when guys open doors for me. He was shocked.
“What,” I asked.
Apparently because I am vocal in my support of women advancing and enhancing ourselves as women, he interpreted me as wanting to do everything myself. Really, who wants to do everything his/herself? I am not living isolated on an island. Help a sister!
For a brief second I was taken aback by his extreme assumption. He looked at me with a smile and said, “You continue to amaze me.” Isn’t it funny how generalizations affect how people “see” YOU? I loved the conversation that followed.
I told him that just because I can open a door does not mean to me that when situations arise, a man should halt himself from opening it for me. I totally support women who want to open (all of) their doors. In truth, most doors I walk through I open…and hold open for others. Still, I definitely take note of guys who reach for the handle first and allow me to step in. It is nice.
“You are like me then,” he said, “except you are more vocal.”
“I have to be more vocal if I want things to improve,” I explained, “I’m in an oppressed demographic. It is because I am a member of this demographic that I am not just like you. There lives your ‘exception’.” As I told him, if more men would take that same chivalrous attitude and open more doors for us at professional decision-making tables there may not be a need for him to refer to me as “pro-woman”. He chuckled. I winked. I was serious (though).